Bad Breath - Halitosis
Sinusitis, tonsillitis, strep throat, mononucleosis, bronchitis, and canker sores are all caused by infections that can cause nasal discharge, sputum, and bad breath. Zenker’s diverticulum is a throat condition that causes a pouch to form in the lower throat. Food that becomes trapped in the pouch can cause bad breath. In young children, foreign objects in the nose can cause both nasal drainage and bad breath.
Smoking cigarettes and using chewing tobacco dry out your mouth and can contribute to gum disease and bad breath.
Untreated dental conditions, such as impacted or infected teeth, and poor oral care can cause bad breath. An overgrowth of plaque on the teeth or gums is a main cause of gum disease (periodontal disease) and tooth decay that can lead to bad breath. The sugar or starch in foods that you eat increase plaque formation. Smoking, chewing tobacco, teeth grinding, and poor fitting dentures can make the condition even worse. Fortunately, good tooth brushing, flossing, and oral care can help prevent plaque buildup.
Saliva helps to keep your mouth moist and clean. People that smoke, take certain medications, breathe through their mouth while sleeping, or have salivary gland disorders may be vulnerable to bacteria build up on the tongue or in the mouth. This causes what is commonly referred to as “morning breath.”
DiagnosisYou should contact your doctor or dentist if you experience ongoing bad breath that is not resolvable with home treatments, such as good tooth brushing, gum care, changes in diet, or smoking cessation. Your doctor or dentist will review your medical history, examine you, and conduct some tests to determine if you have an underlying medical condition.
If you are diagnosed with an underlying medical condition that causes bad breath, your doctor will provide you with specific treatment for your condition or refer you to an appropriate specialist.
Am I at RiskEveryone is at risk for bad breath. People at greater risk practice poor oral hygiene or have one of the causative factors listed above.
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This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.
The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on February 16, 2022. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.